If you don’t recognize the name Spaide Ripper, it’s about time to get familiar.
The St. Louis-native emcee is quickly making a name for himself as a versatile Midwest staple, something he attributes to living in the Lou, a middle-point for musical influences from all over the country.
After a killer verse and equally awesome part in Stevie Stone’s new video for “The Reason” from 2 Birds 1 Stone, we felt compelled to chop it up with Spaide about Stevie’s new album, the St. Louis hip hop scene, and more. Read the full interview below!
How long have you been rapping and how did you get into it?
Well I’ve been rapping my whole life. I’m talking all through elementary school and all of that but I didn’t really seriously get in professionally until 2005-ish when I was on Scarface’s album, My Homies Pt. II and it was a compilation double CD. The Game was on it and a couple other fly artists and shit. I had a record on that and it being on the Scarface CD you know it made the song go up the Billboard a lot faster than it would have with me pushing it independently. I was pushing a song by myself at first. It was called “Like Always” but then they got wind of the song and got with me. We did a little situation to get the song on the Scarface compilation. That was really my breakthrough. The song was a regional hit and they still play it in St. Louis. It reached #5 on Billboard independent sales. That was like ’05, ’06. That was when I professionally broke through and the biggest thing I did.
What does your name mean and how did you acquire it?
Well Spaide is just my nickname because I’m dark skinned. It started out as a joke but it stuck to me because my brothers and sisters are all lighter than me. That’s where the Spaide comes from. Ripper, I used to just call myself “The Ripper” but I had just came to accept the Spaide part of my name. I used to call myself Spaide The Ripper but I shortened it to Spaide Ripper because Spaide The Ripper sounded like old school to me. I came up with a little acronym for it though. R.I.P.P.E.R. stands for Rhyming In Perfection, Punishing Every Rapper.
How long have you known Stevie and how did you guys first meet?
I met Stone when he was first moving back to St. Louis. That record that was on the Scarface that I was telling you about, it was the shit in St. Louis by then. It was like #3 on Billboard by then and all that type of shit. He heard the record and we were recording out of the same studio, which is Phat Buddha and I met him down there. We ended up hooking up to do a record that was on his first album with Ruthless. We did a record called “Run Ton” and we hooked up to do the record. We hit it off. We had a lot of shit in common. We sound good together. Shit, we just became friends after we did the song. We started hanging tough and over the years we just stayed in contact and done a lot of music. He’s one of my best friends now and today. We met on some music but he’s one of the few people that I can honestly consider a friend in the music business.
Do you think that plays into how well you guys sound together?
Yeah, because we’ve been doing it for a long time, like bouncing off of each other. I’m always in the studio with him while he works on his projects. We bounce ideas off of each other and shit like that. We work well together. We’re family man and it’s all part of the team, part of Team Stone.
Between you and Stevie and emcees like Tef Poe, the St. Louis hip hop scene is pretty healthy right now. What do you think it is about St. Louis that makes it such a diverse scene?
We’ve got influences from every region of the country because we sit so perfectly in the middle. Growing up in the golden era of hip hop, we weren’t necessarily umbrella’d or blanketed with a certain sound or market. We grew up listening to everything – everything from Spice 1 to Wu Tang and they played it all fairly on the radio. It’s not like we have a certain down south or east coast sound. We’re influenced by everything and it shows through our artists, especially the new artists. I hope people are realizing that artists from St. Louis are much more versatile than we have been portrayed to be in the past.
What do you think about Stevie Stone as an artist and emcee?
I think he one of the best in the midwest! I think he has his own style and his own flavor and formula that makes him unique. I think it’s wonderful, you know what I’m saying? I’m glad that people like when we get together. Hopefully one day we could do a project together. It seems that the people like the way we sound together on some peanut butter and jelly type shit.
Have you gotten to hear Stevie’s new album yet?
How would you describe it?
I would describe it as raw, aggressive, a point to prove and a statement. I think he’s coming for his respect. I think he comin to be respected as one of the big dogs in Strange.
How did he approach you to be on “The Reason”?
He just told me “this the one!” He knows how I do it and he knows when I come to do the verse he knows I’m coming to make the situation better or I’m coming to bring my little pizazz to it, so he was like “This the one, I need you to show out on it. You got the last verse!” He always throws me the last verse. You know when you come with that last verse, you gotta shine. I just came to do what I do. He told me “I need you to make sure that this the one you make sure to stick out on and bring it.” So shit, I did my thing. I love doing those records. Hopefully one day everybody will get to see a little more of my penmanship because I know the people just hear me on party records right now but I want to be respected as a serious lyricist from the midwest.
In your verse from the Reason, you dropped a partial ¡MAYDAY! line. Are you a ¡MAYDAY! fan?
Definitely a ¡MAYDAY! fan. Those are my friends too. We kick it. They mess with the Zombiies and my crew is The Zombiies. They shout out and we shout right back because I definitely loved it when I heard “Barricade”: and they said “Party with The Zombiies until the bodies hit the barricade.” That was like “Yeah!” So I definitely dropped a line and let them know that I appreciated the shout out. I also want people to realize that when they hear Kutt Calhoun or Stevie Stone shouting out “The Zombiies” that they’re talking about Spaide Ripper and his crew.
For our fans that might not know, what is The Bernie?
The Bernie is from the movie Weekend at Bernie’s. So you know, like I said, my crew is The Zombiies. “The Bernie” started out as a joke that we used to say but I said it in a song, something about “Uncle Bernie”, who was a character in the movie Weekend at Bernie’s, he died and the only way he come back to life is when they put the music back on. So I was just referencing that, that when they put the music back on I get up and start kicking it.
Can we expect more work between you and Strange Music in the future?
Yes. Definitely. I’m dropping my project in October. It’s going to be called Zombiie Part III. I got Oobergeek on that. I got Stone on that. I got Cognito on that. I got Nesto the Owner on that. I got…shit…who else? I got Aqualeo on it. I’m sure I’m going to be popping up on the Something Else tour to rock these jams out with Stone. I’m always going to be around man. I’m Team Stone. Tech N9ne told me I’m part of the family so even though I might not be signed as an official artist on Strange I am definitely Strange Music family and affiliated to the fullest.
Is there anybody specifically on Strange that you haven’t gotten to work with yet but that you want to?
Yeah Krizz Kaliko and of course Tech N9ne. Everybody wants to do a song with Tech. Me and Kutt Calhoun. We worked on a momentum record but I ended up ultimately being on the hook. We never got to do verses with each other. I want to work with everybody and everybody tells me they want to hear me and Brotha Lynch just because I’m on the zombie wave. Everybody knows that him and I could make some magic. I want to work with everybody up there bro. it’s hard to pick one person.
Is there anything else that the fans can expect from you in the near future?
The new album. Like I said I’m going to pop up on the Something Else tour with Stone and rock out “The Reason”. That will be going down in select cities. I’m trying to book a Zombiie III tour. Just tell them spaideripper.com. Keep looking for me and demand me. That’s what I really want them to know. I see a lot of comments under the videos where people will say that they like me and like me being around. A lot of people say Strange should sign Spaide Ripper. If they really want that to happen then please make it happen for me. Demand it.
– Follow Spaide Ripper on Twitter @SpaideRipper
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